Acting in the ESL Classroom


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A presentation given at the 2008 South Atlantic Modern Language Association Convention held in Louisville, Kentucky.

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Acting in the ESL Classroom

  1. 1. Drama, Language, and Thought: Vygotsky, Stanislavski, and You
  2. 2. by Gary Carkin, Ph.D. Graduate Professor of TESOL The Institute for Language Education Southern New Hampshire University Manchester, NH USA
  3. 3. No Words, No Voice, No Language – Just Compassion By Martha Epperson The Essential Teacher March, 2008
  4. 4. • TESOL-Drama • EVO_Drama Drama_2008/
  5. 5. Gary’s Research Website
  6. 6. Dr. Daniela Bacova Slovakia
  7. 7. Torun Teacher Training College Torun, Poland Anita Debska Joanna Ciechanowska (Przewiezlikowski)
  8. 8. London School of Language and Drama • Actor training through English as a second language • Concentration exercises • Mime • Improvisation • Poetry reading • Scene study
  9. 9. Nicole Kupfer Zurich, Switzerland •Students create original texts •Students play their own musical instruments •Students dance •Students prepare lighting, sound, costumes, and properties •Students rehearse using the target language on and off stage
  10. 10. Julie O’Sullivan New York University System New Paltz, New York •Uses mime •Movement •Scene study
  11. 11. Alexis Finger Drexel University Philadelphia, PA • Uses contemporary drama • Students read plays • Students see plays • Students discuss plays • Students re-write plays • Students perform their rewritten plays
  12. 12. George Plautz English Language Institute University of Utah Theatrical Production Course •Students rehearse play •Students work on props, set, sound, and costumes •Study all aspects of production
  13. 13. Second Language Acquisition Theorists Krashen – Affective filter Krashen – Comprehensible input Hatch, Pica, and Long – Task based and natural approach Boulton, Heathcote, Freire, Kao, O’Neill – Learner centered
  14. 14. Lev Semenovitch Vygotsky •Zone of Proximal Development – Mind and Society (1978) •Thought and Language (1976)
  15. 15. Thought and Language A person starts with a MOTIVE to speak. The motive generates INNERSPEECH/SUBTEXT. The inner speech/subtext generates a THOUGHT/IMAGE. The thought/image generates a FEELING. The thought/image/feeling is communicated through the MEDIUM of (L2) SPEECH.
  16. 16. Motive or Intention •State motivating desire in specific terms •Words are tools to achieving an objective •Intentions must be expressed in active terms •Doing, not being
  17. 17. Inner speech or Subtext •Abbreviation of syntax •Predicates •The thought behind the text •The meaning based upon context •Sense and meaning combine
  18. 18. Image Create flow of images based upon motive/subtext/inner speech Wait for feeling Link to text Link to inner monologue
  19. 19. Feeling • Created through work with motive/inner speech/subtext/ and image • The thought creates the feeling • Thought/feeling support the meaning of the text
  20. 20. Conclusion Language acquisition/production occurs when a learner moves from motivation to inner speech or subtext to a flow of images that excite a flow of feeling. The feeling leads to selection of L2 words and syntax related to the context/circumstance for which they are used. A written text can help the process of language acquisition because it supplies vocabulary/grammar in context.
  21. 21. Using drama for life Drama trains learners to control their thought processes. Thought can be directed to envision positive results Such constant imaging of positive results produces the results desired.
  22. 22. The Secret By Rhonda Byrne
  23. 23. The End (and a beginning?)